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Philadelphia Federal Reserve to Hold Faith-Based Conference to Address Predatory Lending Practices

For release: March 30, 2001
Contact: Marilyn Wimp (215) 574-4197

PHILADELPHIA - The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia will host "Protecting the Wealth of Our Communities," a faith-based conference focusing on predatory lending problems and solutions. More than 200 church and community leaders are being invited to this April 25 event designed to raise awareness about predatory lending practices, offer guidance on financial and legal assistance, and provide support for developing financial literacy programs.

"We believe there is a tremendous need for financial education of consumers and that churches are an excellent means of reaching consumers," said Dede Myers, vice president and community affairs officer with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

This conference marks the first time the Philadelphia Fed has developed a program geared primarily to church leaders. Legal, financial, and educational aspects of predatory lending will be covered during this day-long event.

One of the major concerns facing communities is the growing number of female elderly and minority homeowners offered high-cost home-secured credit. These loans carry high up-front fees and may be based on the owners' equity in their home, not their ability to pay back the loan. When homeowners — many of whom have limited incomes — have trouble repaying the debt, they are encouraged to refinance, leading to another high-cost loan. Eventually, the lender may initiate foreclosure.

Predatory lending encompasses a variety of abusive practices. "Our goal is to arm our community leaders with the financial knowledge and legal resources to battle all types of lending that threatens their homes and their wealth," Myers said.

The Fed is presenting a diverse conference lineup to help in the fight against predatory lending. Program presenters include The Reinvestment Fund; Fannie Mae Foundation; Freddie Mac; Community Legal Services Inc.; ACORN Housing Corp; the City of Philadelphia Office of Housing and Community Development; North Carolina Fair Housing Council; Pennsylvania Bankers Association; Pennsylvania Department of Banking; and the Penn State Cooperative Extension Program.

In addition to this program, the Federal Reserve is debuting a pilot program on financial literacy to juniors and seniors in Newark High School, Newark, Delaware. The course will introduce students to the fundamentals of sound money management skills, including credit and debt management, saving and investing, insurance, and home-ownership preparation.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia serves depository institutions in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware by supplying cash to these banks and thrifts, supervising them, collecting and processing about 4.6 million checks daily, wiring money and securities nationwide, as well as participating in the broader objective of setting monetary policy.

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Media Contacts

Marilyn Wimp, ABC E-mail
Manager of Media Relations
(215) 574-4197
(267) 254-4555 (cell)

Daneil Mazone E-mail
Media Relations Representative
(215) 574-7163
(267) 535-1808 (cell)